More male psychologists?

A letter from our June 2016 edition.

The dialogue started by Barrow et al.’s letter (‘Does it matter if psychologists are unrepresentative’, February 2016) answered by Bullen and Hacker Hughes (‘Representativeness of psychologists – BPS response’, April 2016) is a very important one. We would like to add to the discussion that the issue of the lack of male psychologists is much more urgent than simply ’equality of representation’. We would like you to think about how much representation in the psychology workforce should be proportionate to the specific needs of the job (Jarrett, 2011).

There are fewer male psychologists than female; obviously the gender representation in psychology is unbalanced, but beyond this is there also an actual need for more male psychologists? Well, men appear to need psychological help (men commit suicide at over three times the rate of women: ONS, 2015) yet seek help less than women do (Addis & Mahalik, 2003). If we care about mental health, then we need to ask questions like ‘What can we do to improve help seeking in men?’ and ‘Would men be more likely to seek therapy if they could see a male psychologist?’ Questions like this are why we have started the Male Psychology Network, and why we will be presenting, at our conference at UCL on 24 and 25 June, findings from research projects that address these very issues (see www.malepsychology.org.uk). We welcome psychologists – regardless of gender – to join us in finding solutions to these largely unaddressed issues.

John Barry
University College London
Louise Liddon
Open University
Roger Kingerlee
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Martin Seager
London Samaritans
 
References
Addis, M.E. & Mahalik, J.R. (2003). Men, masculinity, and the contexts of help-seeking. American Psychologist, 58(1), 5–14.
Jarrett, T. (2011). The Equality Act 2010 and positive action. http://tinyurl.com/jqu3ll5
Office of National Statistics (2015). Suicide rates in the United Kingdom. tinyurl.com/zoz6jy7

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